The National Rifle Association won a series of legislative victories in the Illinois General Assembly this year, the Chicago Sun-Times says. The results include a bill that prosecutors fear would alert gun traffickers about investigations into weapons they have owned.
The NRA and the Illinois State Rifle Association successfully lobbied to shoot down gun-control measures pushed by Chicago Mayor Richard Daley. They especially riled police and prosecutors with the passage of House Bill 515. Under the bill awaiting Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s signature, an agency requesting a firearms trace must notify the subject of the check when criminal proceedings begin or within 60 days of the investigation being closed. It also would allow the person to destroy the records associated with the trace request.
“This bill is the best friend of gun traffickers,” said Mike Smith, a Cook County prosecutor. Cook County State’s Attorney Dick Devine will tell the governor he opposes the bill, which comes as his office is boosting efforts to trace guns used in crimes against kids. Chicago police oppose the bill, too.
Todd Vandermyde, an NRA lobbyist, said the governor should sign the legislation because
“he campaigned all over southern Illinois saying, ‘gun owners have nothing to fear from me,’ ” Vandermyde said. “This is the perfect opportunity for the governor to shed a little light on the process and make sure there are no secret investigations of law-abiding gun owners in which law enforcement agencies create databases on the guns they own.”
The NRA worked hard this year to defeat Daley’s gun-control package, which included measures to limit gun purchases to one a month, require gun dealers to obtain state licenses in addition to federal ones and require background checks at gun shows. Another gun-show bill may reach the House floor for a vote today.